Our long term liveaboard plans are to go cruising, firstly around our own coastal waters and then further afield to the Mediterranean and we therefore never considered a residential mooring. This decision brought with it a set of complications that we hadn’t really considered, one being that our official status was now that of “no fixed address”. As much as we wanted our nomadic life style, we still needed driving licenses, passports, bank accounts, boat insurance, mobile phones and access to health services – all of which required a post code before they were issued. Our current boat yard does not have the facility to receive mail for boat owners and in fact also requires a residential address for all correspondence, so we had to find an alternative solution.
My mother-in-law was happy to be our “care of” address for our basic and official correspondence and this was acceptable for all services that wanted money from us. She lives about 50 miles away so it was not so great for picking up urgently required boat parts. An unplanned trip to hospital for Kevin with follow-up appointments and medication highlighted the need to be registered with local health services and integration of our land based business into the community required a local address to access business networks and services. We looked into PO boxes and other personal mail type services in our area but they were not only expensive but also required a six month or annual commitment and often did not include a signed for or parcel service.
Eventually we found a virtual office service in a local business enterprise centre that works on a month to month basis for only £24 per month. There are no problems having parcels delivered and signed for and it’s small enough to know the staff personally, so far this has been a perfect solution. I have been pleasantly surprised that most local and national government services are getting used to finding work arounds for nomads like us, unfortunately this is not only due to more people adopting an alternative lifestyle but also because of the rising homeless population in our country.
Most of my bills are now received by email and I’m amazed (and please) at the minimal amount of paper mail I receive these days. HMRC services are all available on line through the government gateway so submitting our tax returns and keeping on top of our business contributions is pretty easy. The only important issue we are struggling with is registering to vote. One lady I’m talking to has has suggested registering Tamaha as a house with a floating post code! Quite ingenious but they won’t know if the current system will accept this till they try. It really gives a whole new meaning to the term Floating Voter.
If you have have any other input, ideas and solutions on getting around the post code issue for continuous cruising liveaboards, I love to hear your input, especially your experience once cruising in Europe.